One week from today the Iowa Water Conference will kick off at the Scheman Building in Ames. I’ve been going to this conference for a lot of years, dating back to when it was called the Ag and the Environment Conference. It’s always interesting to take a look at the agenda to see what the planning committee has put together. Since the Storm Water, Floodplain, Ag and the Environment and Research tracks were combined into one conference, there’s always plenty of choices to make for the workshop sessions.
As I review the agenda, three sessions that look interesting include one on EcoSystem Services by Kris Johnson, Two divergent theories on the causes of increased river flows in the Midwestern United States by Keith Schilling and Satish Gupta, and Bacterial transport in waterways and streams by Michelle Soupir. Of course there are many other sessions that will draw great interest from participants.
One gap I see in the agenda is a place for water project practitioners to tell their story of how they are getting things done on the ground across Iowa and how decision makers are being engaged on a daily basis to create improvement in Iowa’s water quality. With the Nutrient Reduction Strategy such a priority, I’m surprised there are not farmers or commodity groups on the agenda to bridge the divide we sometimes see in promoted practices and practice adoption across the state. I understand that the Water Conference has long been focused on the people working in the water realm, but it’s time to broaden the audience of this conference.
Regardless of what I might think is missing, the Water Conference is always packed with information and I’ll be ready to take notes, connect with colleagues and hopefully come home with some new ideas. And I’m excited to check out the photography contest. This year I submitted a couple of water related pictures, so we’ll get to see how they compare.. See you on March 3!